|Music from the Hawkwind family tree - Part 2
Many thanks to Graham who penned this piece - which is the second installment in the series...!
Spiral Realms is Simon House with Len Del Rio and this was the first
album to come out under the Spiral Realms banner, released on
Cleopatra (CLEO95002) in 1995. Unlike many other Hawk-family
instrumental albums, the material is generally well-structured and
melodic. It lacks the energy of the best Hawkwind but most of the six
tracks (and especially â€œTritiumâ€�) would work well if placed
between faster, heavier numbers on a Hawkwind album.
The title track â€œA Trip To G9â€� features a strong melodic hook
(played on synthesized voices) and is a pleasing combination of melody,
rhythm and effects. Part way through, and deep in the mix, someone starts rambling on about flying
saucers. A promising start to the album. â€œElements IIâ€� is a mercifully short cacophonous linking track
(all effects and no tune).
â€œRed Giantâ€� starts out with a flurry of swirling synths and violin, resolving into a distinguishable
structure after about 3 minutes. Thereafter it meanders along nicely, with different synthesized sounds
including guitar and flute coming to the fore at different points. At around the 10-minute mark the effects
start to dominate and a heavy rhythm track takes over, eventually fading out just past the 12-minute mark.
The violin is prominent in the following â€œTritiumâ€� and this track would not have sounded out of place
on â€œWarrior on the Edge of Timeâ€�. At six minutes long it is also relatively concise.
â€œ1000 Years Under Solar Sailsâ€� begins with eerie sound effects before the main melody and a
synthesised didgeridoo-like rhythm track take over. At around 5 minutes the rhythm briefly drops out and
the violin comes in, before another five minutes of much the same. Finally, â€œSolar Flaresâ€� is rather
low key, meandering along for 12 minutes, and only slightly marred by an irritating sampled voice.
Some of the best: Spiral Realms â€“ A Trip To
Although I promised not to review Motorhead CDs,
this CD sneaks in because it covers much of Lemmyâ
€™s career. However, there is nothing here by Sam
Gopal and the most recent Motorhead track is from
The first track is â€œItâ€™s Alrightâ€� by Lemmyâ
€™s 1960s band the Rockinâ€™ Vicars. Written by
Pete Townsend, it inevitably sounds rather like The
Who. [It seems to be an early version of â€œThe
Kids Are Alrightâ€� in fact]. Lemmy doesnâ€™t sing
Then we get two Hawkwind tracks (â€œThe
Watcherâ€�, â€œLost Johnnyâ€�) and nine
Motorhead tracks (one with Girlschool) before
reaching Lemmyâ€™s duet with
Worth A Listen: Various Artists - Greasy Truckers Party 2003
The main interest in this CDR from Ozit/Morpheus
Records (OZIT CD221) is the inclusion of four live
tracks from SpaceRitual.net, which make up around
half the 64-minute running time of the album.
The band is: Turner, Crimble, Slattery, Ollis,
Anderson and Dettmar, plus various others including
Ollis junior. Ron Tree and Jerry Richards apparently
appeared at some gigs but are not evident (to me
anyway) on these tracks. This is a more disciplined
sounding performance than on previous Ozit releases,
which may have something to do with Dave
Anderson taking over the bass role. Nik is in good
voice throughout (although he often recites rather
than sings the words) and he also contributes sax and
rest of the album has nothing to do with Hawkwind and features Tractor, Richard Strange, Guitar George
Borowski and The Theory. The SpaceRitual.net set kicks off with a decent stab at â€œBrainstormâ€�,
with Nik Turner on lead vocals and sax, and a Turner rap part way through. Aside from female backing
vocals, the sound is pretty authentic Hawkwind. â€œSonic Savagesâ€� follows and is a fair, mid-paced
new number, apparently from the forthcoming SpaceRitual.net album.
â€œWatching The Grass Growâ€� is taken at a rather slow pace; a heavy arrangement with a long sax
solo. The pace picks up on the verses and, again, this is a solid performance. Track 4 is listed as â
€œChildren of the Sunâ€� on the label but is of course â€œD-Riderâ€�. This has a slow, spacey feel, with
Nik on lead vocals and flute.
These performances are closer to the Hawkwind sound and spirit than Nikâ€™s outings with Pressurehed
and friends. If the Spaceritural.net album does eventually appear, and is up to this standard, it will have
been worth waiting for â€“ and Spaceritual.net might just move up out of the pub and minor festival circuit.
Worth A Listen: Lemmy â€“ Born to Lose â€“ Live to
Wendy Oâ€™Williams on â€œStand By Your Manâ€�. In interviews, Lemmy has always said that the late
Wendy Oâ€™Williams was a wonderful person but this doesnâ€™t alter the fact that this is a truly horrible
track. Lemmyâ€™s brief reunion with Hawkwind in 1984 on â€œNight of the Hawksâ€� follows.
The last three tracks are less familiar. These are â€œCountdownâ€� by the Albert Jarvin Band (apparently
never issued outside Finland) and both sides of the â€œBlue Suede Shoesâ€�/â€�Paradiseâ€� single by
Lemmy and the Upsetters (featuring Mick Green). All feature Lemmyâ€™s distinctive growl.
This CD appeared in 1994 as Connoisseur Collection VSOP CD 206 and is worth acquiring if you must
own everything by Lemmy or if you have (somehow) never heard any early Motorhead.
Worth A Listen: Judge Trev â€“ God and
Judge Trev (then plain Trev Thoms) was a leading
light in the original Inner City Unit, itself formed from
the ashes of Steve Tookâ€™s Horns. He also played
in the ICU-offshoot the Atom Gods, then formed
Judge Trevâ€™s ICU â€“ releasing the Now You
Know The Score CD, which mainly revisited older
ICU and Atom Gods material. He is presently part of
both the (occasionally) reformed ICU and the
modestly named Mother of All Bands, with Ron Tree.
Also appearing on this record from 2001 are ex-
Hawks Nik Turner, Harvey Bainbridge and (on one
track only, on bass) Ron Tree. Percussion is played
by ICUâ€™s Dino Ferrari and trumpet by Rick
In fact most of the songs are just Trev and his
acoustic guitar in folky singer-songwriter mode,
several light years removed from space rock. Trevâ€™s vocals are reminiscent of Caravanâ€™s Richard
Sinclair and the whole album has a relaxed, pastoral feel. â€œThe Lonely Travellerâ€� features some very
restrained and tasteful sax, presumably played by Nik Turner. The affecting war lament â€œBattleâ€�
features Nikâ€™s flute.
This CDR is available from Real Festival Music (REALCD 005) (see their website for further details). By all
means buy it for the Hawkwind connection but appreciate it for the Judgeâ€™s songs.
This is actually the back of the CD - the front's boring
Worth A Listen: Judge Trev's Inner City Unit â€“ Now You Know The
What made ICU Mark I so good? To my mind, the
combination of energy, subversive humour, a keen
interest in science fiction, smart lyrics and (relatively)
youthful exuberance, exemplified by tracks like â
€œTwo Worldsâ€� and â€œBones Of Elvisâ€�.
Who knows? Anyway, after three albums, including
a compilation of alternative versions and outtakes, it
was all over. None of the later albums by subsequent
line-ups quite matched the first three. â€œNew
Anatomyâ€� lacks energy, the â€œBlood and Boneâ
€� EP has energy in spades but old rockâ€™nâ
€™roll covers are no substitute for original songs,
while â€œThe Presidentâ€™s Tapesâ€� is something
of a return to form but plods where it should roar. So
then Judge Trev resurrected the name for â€œNow
You Know The Score!â€� (Judgement records
JUDGECD 001, 1997). No Nik, no Dead Fred.
Dino Ferrari and hired hands revisit â€œSkinheads In Leningradâ€� and â€œVirgin Loveâ€�, rather proving
that they donâ€™t know what made ICU great either. So, no direct Hawkwind connection and this
collection of yobbish punk and metal doesnâ€™t add much to ICUâ€™s reputation either. However, itâ€™s
still an enjoyable album in its own right.
Worth A Listen: Michael Moorcock's Deep Fix â€“ New World's
This is a very, very, strange album, full of fey, wistful pop and
rock songs, mainly sung rather melodramatically by Michael
Moorcock himself, interspersed by short spoken pieces. Dave
Brock, Nik Turner, Allan Powell, Simon King and Terry Ollis
are all present on the album without imposing any of their
personality on the music. Simon Houseâ€™s violin playing is
prominent on some tracks however.
So, this is a concept album about the doomed romance of the
fairground or, if you like, Michael Moorcock as Jim Steinman,
eulogising â€œhaving some funâ€� as if it was a profound
mystical or religious experience. â€œThe fairâ€™s nearly over
dude; your soul was the entrance fee and all theyâ€™ve left
you is your guitar. How
does it feel dude? I donâ€™t care! I donâ€™t care!â€� Possibly if you are 16 years old, you can relate to
this. Otherwise, the concept is probably just a bit silly. Just to run with the Jim Steinman analogy for a
minute, this is more â€œBad For Goodâ€� than â€œBat Out Of Hellâ€� since Michael Moorcock never had
a Meat Loaf character to bring his songs to life!
As a concept album by a sometime Hawkwind vocalist, â€œNew Worldâ€™s Fairâ€� probably rates
alongside â€œLucky Leifâ€� (indeed, â€œYouâ€™re A Heroâ€�, with its irritatingly chirpy arrangement
and lyrics about being â€œValhalla boundâ€�, recalls the Lucky Leif album). There are some atmospheric
ballads (â€œCome To The Fairâ€� and â€œDudeâ€™s Dreamâ€�), featuring sterling violin work from
Simon House, and some average rockers (â€œOctopusâ€�, â€œ16 Year Old Doomâ€�, â€œIn The Name
Of Rock And Rollâ€�, â€œLast Merry-Go-Roundâ€�) but I suspect the average Hawkwind fan is likely to
start playing frisbee with the CD after sitting through â€œCandy Floss Cowboyâ€� and â€œDealer Manâ€�.
The CD (Griffin GCD 332-2, 1995) is somewhat different to the original album (United Artists UA29732,
1975), since it adds three tracks from later singles (â€œDodgem Dudeâ€�, â€œStarcruiserâ€� and â
€œBrothel in Rosenstrasseâ€�) and the first two of these are sequenced in the middle of the original running
order. All three are decent tracks but none really fits, even though the first two were apparently originally
intended to be the single from the album. â€œDodgem Dudeâ€�/â€œStarcruiserâ€� was eventually released
on Flicknife (FLS 200) in 1980. The last track on the CD, â€œBrothel in Rosenstrasseâ€� (backed with â
€œTime Centreâ€�) was released as a limited (500) run single on Flicknife (EJSP 9831) in 1982.